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Showing posts from January, 2009


My apologies. I've been travelling, which has meant little access to the Internet.

I've been visiting with a friend in Missouri--two friends, really--and hope to share some of my experiences when I have more time to write.

God bless you all!

Margie's Kafe, Vienna, Missouri

The place is deserted--well, it was when I arrived--an elderly couple have just walked in. Margie's is a fairly typical rural place of eating. There are chrome and brown vinyl chairs around square chrome and arborite tables and some forest green vinyl upholstered booths. A young girl serves and when she is asked if she is Margie, she says, "I wish!"

Margie's has a bit more class than some rural diners I've been to. The cinder block walls above the cheap wood panelling has a fresh coat of white on them, trimmed at the top with a strip of Fat Chef wallpaper border and tasteful framed art work hanging between country-style, fluted wall sconces. The windows are large so the place is bright and cheery and the wood laminate floors are clean and relatively new.

I could have ordered Country Ham from the one-page, laminated menuy for eight dollars, but the specials on the white board attracted my attention: BBQ Pork Steak for $4.50 including two sides. I have neer se…

Winter on the Highway

Forty below zero with the promise of dropping temperatures is not the way to start on a road trip, even if you're travelling south to warmer climes, but it was the morning planned, so it was to be. I had wakened at 3:00 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep so I figured I may as well get going. But I'm a slowpoke about some things, and it was nearly 5:00 before I drove away. Despite my slow pace in the house, by the time I got behind the wheel of the van I was perspiring and, since the car would heat up shortly, I put on no winter gear except my gloves.

Big mistake! There was no heat and the temperature gauge on the van did not move from its coldest position. An hour and a half later, when I reached the US border, there was still no heat and my fingers were freezing. It was still dark, too. I drove carefully, aware that should I land in the ditch, I wouldn't last long. Thankfully the customs officer was taking his time with the car ahead and I had time to shrug on a swea…

The Tenth Circle

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

I read this in a day (as I did with Mercy), but stayed up the entire night and part of the morning to do so. Like Mercy, The Tenth Circle is too steamy for my tastes but so well written that I couldn't put it down.

What a combination Picoulti has put into this tale! Trixie's mom is a university professor who, among other things, teaches a course on Dante's Inferno. That grabbed my attention because I recently bought a beautiful edition of Dante's Divine Comedy (of which Inferno is a part) with pen and ink illustrations by Gustav Doré. I haven't read Divine Comedy yet, but I plan to. Apparently, Dante describes nine levels or circles of hell but Trixie's dad has discovered there is yet another--the tenth circle.

Trixie's dad is a comic book artist, so Picoult (through Dustin Weaver) adds several graphic novel pages before each chapter, weaving the plot of her story with Dante's to create the comic book drama. This idea…


Mercyby Jodi Picoult

Give me a book of fiction and it's hard to pull me away from it. I read Mercy yesterday, from start to finish. I didn't have to stay up much past midnight to do it either, even though I didn't begin till the afternoon.

Picoult is a very good writer, though at least some of her books, including this one, are a bit steamier than I prefer. "Mercy" is something that is needed for more than one character of the story. Jamie has mercy on his beloved wife who is dying slowly and painfully from cancer and ends her life at her request. Cameron, Jamie's cousin, police chief of the town and titular laird of the Scottish clan that settled in this town generations ago cannot show mercy to Jamie because he must uphold the law. Allie, Cameron's wife, is overcome with mercy for Jamie and does what she can to help him. The judge shows mercy in the bail set for Jamie, but will the jury have mercy at the end of the trial? Should they?

Allie hires M…

Connecting with God

Connecting with God: A Spiritual Formation Guide by Renovaré

I decided to take a break from The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers to spend time with other authors of spirituality. Richard Foster, founder of Renovaré--a non-denominational Christian organization dedicated to fostering and developing spiritual formation and disciplines, is perhaps best known for his Celebration of Discipline, first published in 1978. I admire his strong but gentle call to developing our spiritual lives and so, when I saw a series of spiritual formation guides in the Wheaton College bookstore two summers ago, I knew I had to buy them. I bought a lot of books that summer, so it's taking me time to get to them all--especially since so many of them are full of good meat.

Of the three Spiritual Formation Guides, Connecting with God seemed the logical one to begin with since it seems to be more connected to the Old Testament than the New and, of course, the Old came before the New. So far, I've read …

The Size of God

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26 NIV

Have you ever considered the size of God? Look to the sky! Look at it at night in a place untouched by the lights of civilisation. The stars are innumerable. Imagine reaching out your hand and grabbing hold of a fistful. How many fistfuls would fit in the basket you are carrying? Hundreds! Thousands!

Now remember how large each star really is. Our sun is so large that even at a gazillion miles away, it burns us. Imagine a basket large enough to hold hundreds just like it! On the day of creation, God was carrying that basket. He reached in, removed one star at a time and put them just where he wanted. How big his hands must be! How big he must be! He could have a few worlds tucked into his pocket and not even notice them! Imagine the power and …

Reviews of Searching for Love

If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at or post them in the comments section below.

A Real Testimony
I finished your book. A real testimony to what God does for us.
Leona March 3, 2009
I Had Tears Coming

I sat down to read it about a week later and ended up finishing it the same night. At first I admit I was a little bored and thought that the whole book was about a battle all in your mind, but as I continued reading this creeping thought came over me of a different...struggle in my own life, that I would never in my right mind have shared with anyone accept maybe God. I've mentioned your book to a few people because it stirs up age-old controversies that I have myself argued and wondered about, namely about whether or not homosexuality can be cured or just managed like alcoholism--you just have to stay away from temptation. I noticed at the end of your book that your struggle story …

Fiction Read in 2009

August 27, 2009 My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
July 4, 2009 Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult The Lighthouse by P. D. James The Private Patient by P. D. James Obsessed by Ted Dekker The Sigma Protocol by Robert Ludlum

April 9, 2009

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Ten-year-old Sarah's family is wakened in the early morning by the French police rounding up Jews on behalf of the Nazi occupiers. Thinking they'll be gone only a few hours, she manages to hide her four-year-old brother in a hidden, locked cupboard with promises that she'll return soon. Continue Reading.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
I have always enjoyed the writings of Sue Monk Kidd, so when I saw Secret Life of Bees on the shelf, I was eager to add it to my collection of books to read. I first discovered Sue Monk Kidd in the Guidepost magazines we used to subscribe to and came to highly respect her after reading When the Heart Waits. She’s an excellent writer and I b…

Non-Fiction Read in 2009

August 20, 2009 Terrify No Moreby Gary A. HaugenEarlier this year, a man representing the International Justice Mission came to speak to my church.I was so fascinated by what he said that I bought all three books written by the president and founder of IJM.I finished the first two in a week or two.Oh that there were more doing what this Christian organization does! Continue reading. Death by Love: Letters from the Cross by Mark Driscoll and Gerry BreshearsThe book arrived by mail during Holy Week this year and so, fittingly, I began to read it on Good Friday.Each of twelve chapters illustrates a truth about what Jesus accomplished on the cross: victory, redemption, sacrifice, gift of redemption, justification, propitiation, expiation, atonement, ransom, exemplar, reconciliation and revelation.Each chapter tells the story of a traumatic event that changed one person’s life.These are reflected in chapter titles such as, “Demons are Tormenting Me,” “My Wife Slept with my Friend,” “I Mole…